How to Frame a Basement

Lead Image
What You'll Need
2x4-inch lumber
1x4-inch lumber
Hammer drill
Masonry bit
Masonry screws
Chalk line
Concrete sealer
Foam insulation

If you want to use your basement for additional living space, you will need to frame the area in. A finished basement is something that will not only add extra space to your home, but that can also boost your home's value by thousands of dollars.

As families grow and people want to expand their homes for an office or a home gym, they are looking at their basement. Most people will add a finished basement to their home because it is cheaper and easier than a full addition. To frame a basement, you need to follow a few steps and learn some basic framing techniques.

Step 1 - Seal Foundation Walls and Measure Room

patching a crack in a concrete wall

Basements are commonly damp. Being underground, they are much cooler than the home above. They often contain a certain amount of moisture in the air. To reduce the air moisture, apply cement sealer to the walls and floor of the basement.

Once the sealant has dried, you can mark the lines for your room. Measure the length of a wall and mark the floor at the desired measurement. Do the same on the adjoining wall and connect them with a chalk line. Measure diagonally to make sure the room is square.

Step 2 - Lay the Bottom Plate

Start at a side wall and lay the bottom plate of your frame. Use 2x4-inch lumber and secure it to the floor with masonry screws. Determine where your door will go, then cut the space from the bottom plate.

Step 3 - Install the Top Plate

Cut the top plate to match the length of the bottom. Hang a plumb line from the top to the bottom plate and line them up. Secure the 2x4-inch boards to the top plate and nail it into the floor joists.

Step 4 - Frame the Room

insulated basement ceiling

Using more 2x4-inch boards, frame the portions of the room not on a concrete wall. Use basic framing principles and place the studs on 16-inch centers. Attach them by toe-nailing the nails into the bottom and top plates. Frame the door with a top sill at the correct height. You do not need a header board because this wall will not be load-bearing.

To frame the walls along the concrete foundation, attach 1x4-inch lumber to the wall. Install these boards with 16-inch on center placement. Attach lumber to the top and bottom plates. When you reach the foundation windows, frame them with 1x4-inch boards so that you can finish them later with the wall covering.

Step 5 - Install Foam Insulation

To complete the framing of the basement, install foam insulation boards to the concrete walls. Cut them to the correct width and length with a utility knife and a straight edge. Add them to the wall with construction adhesive. Alternately you can use soundproofing insulation for a quieter room.